Over at the Blue Rose Girls, they're discussing how books don't give credit like movies do. For fun, I thought I'd weigh in on the discussion.

For a while the small press I'm with credited all the production members on the copyright page. Since there are so few of us, it wasn't a very extensive list. The other editor and I convinced the publisher to change this. I can't speak for Meghan's reasoning, but I wanted the anonymity. But I didn't want it because of credit or blame. I wanted to make it harder for submitters to find my name. I know this sounds a little crazy (not to mention paranoid), but here was my reasoning:

We get very little agented submissions, and very few requested submissions. That leaves one mountain of slush. Now there are all sorts of ways to sort slush. One of the things we do is sort by whether or not the person has managed to come up with an editor's name. This is not as hard as it sounds. My name is in our CWIM listing. I have this blog. It's on the copyright page of some of our books. It doesn't take much, but it does take a little work to find it. And you would be surprised how many people don't bother to do that work. These are the same people that either don't know about or don't bother with critique groups, proofreading, and proper manuscript formatting. I am of course talking in gross generalizations, but the slush in the specific editor piles tends to be better than in the generic editor pile.

So, that was why I wanted my name left out of books. I prefer for people to have to go somewhere like CWIM or this blog to find my name. If they're looking for it in one of those places, they're more likely to also read our submission guidelines. And then we wouldn't get as many picture book manuscripts.


Lillian said...

Actually, we are listed as accepting picture books in the CWIM, even though our website says no.

The Buried Editor said...

Really? Blech. You know I've never actually read our entry in it. I went and looked it up once but just to see if my name was really there. Vain, I know, but it's like seeing your name in the newspaper or your picture on TV - it somehow makes you seem more real. But picture books? Really? That would explain why I've been getting a bazillion addressed to me. I had wondered.

stacy said...

Which makes me wonder what the CWIM says about us with regard to picturebooks--that also might explain our slush pile.

I can see what you mean on anonymity. We take different measures for anonymity for the same reasons--we have a Mirrorstone email set up that we can respond to general inquiries from, etc. I don't want my work email out there for spammers or for people who ignore our strict rule for no electronic submissions, so I set up a gmail account to go with my blog to take any blog-related questions.

We do some credits in certain books, like A Practical Guide to Dragons and its followup, A Practical Guide to Monsters. We don't do that in novels, though. Not sure why we do that differently, but there it is.

At any rate, I agree with your point that hopefully they'll do a little more research to find an editor's name, yet I'm not sure I see a difference in whether people have my name or don't in our own slush.

The Buried Editor said...

Admittedly there's not a HUGE difference between the two, but I do find that the awe-inspiring, mind-numbingly wretched submissions (like the one where the person submitted a book half typed and half computer printed with hand-written corrections on some of the pages) never come to a specific editor.

Anonymous said...

To editor or not to editor.

When I began writing, oh so many years ago, the pervailing submission instruction was -- address it to an editor's name.

The latest information is -- follow the d**m submission instructions. If is says send the ms. to Submissions's Editor (or Acquisitions Editor as was the one I did yesterday), then follow the instructions. If you are so foolish as to find an editor's name and use it, the editor who receives it looks at it, says "Huh?" and tosses it into the Slush pile. Since it reaches the slush pile later than it would have it you had simply mailed it with no editor's name, it takes even longer for it to get read.

What's a writer to do?
I know
Follow the d**m instructions.

-librarian, writer, mom

Anonymous said...

Dear buried editor

I just went to your website -- and it says that you DO accepte picture books (send complete manuscript)